Day 12 Wrap: Cards, cricket and Ryan’s insight into Caltex Socceroos’ style

It’s game day for the Caltex Socceroos, with all focus on tonight’s (Friday) pre-FIFA World Cup friendly against the Czech Republic in Austria.

With this the final game before Bert van Marwijk names his 23-man squad for Russia, the players had a familiarisation session at the NV Arena in St Polten.

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Van Marwijk and defender Trent Sainsbury fronted a pre-match press conference, while goalkeeper Maty Ryan gave an insight into the gameplan the team has been working on.

It’s all here in our wrap of Day 12 in Socceroos camp, brought to you by Caltex. Stay tuned to we provide daily updates before Russia 2018 …

The countdown to kick-off is on for the Caltex Socceroos, taking on Czech Republic at 9pm AEST on Friday night, meaning the team went into ‘Matchday -1’ mode.

It meant there would be no double sessions for the players, with the players given some downtime spent playing cards and even a game of indoor cricket.

Using foam rollers as cricket bats and a soft ball, the players had a bit of fun inside one of the rooms at the team hotel in Austria.

It was a great way for them to unwind before heading to the NV Arena for their final training session coming on the pitch where they will take on the Czech’s.


The match is where they will hope to put into practice everything they have been working on since they have been in camp in Turkey.

As Ryan explains, much of that work has been on defensive shape and discipline, limiting space for the opposition in dangerous areas using one of European club football’s best exponents as his example.

"He’s been talking about Atletico Madrid a lot,” the Caltex Socceroos no.1 revealed in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald.

“Technically they don’t have the most skilful and talented players in La Liga when you compare them to the likes of about Real and Barcelona but [Van Marwijk] says they have the best team in terms of camaraderie, the way in which they defend, keeping it very compact and very tight.

"He's basing our defensive structure on the way they defend. That real togetherness and grit when you watch Atletico play."

That togetherness Ryan talks about is evident in the Caltex Socceroos camp, with the squad really buying into van Marwijk’s methods.

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It’s all to ensure they are all on the same page and ready to implement all they have learned when they take on the likes of France, Denmark and Peru – and their array of stars – in Russia.

"If you watch the way Atletico Madrid defend, there’s absolutely no space there when they come up against the likes of Lionel Messi, Ronaldo and Gareth Bale,” Ryan continued.

“They struggle to have any success against them [Atletico] because they’re absolutely suffocated for time and space on the ball.

Bert van Marwijk

Ryan added: “One of the biggest things when you watch Atletico in a defensive sense, they’re back in their shape and everyone is organised and close together.

“That’s proven to be the most successful way in terms of opponents finding it difficult to break down.”

The Caltex Socceroos clash against Czech Republic will be broadcast LIVE in Australia on Fox Sports 501 and Channel ONE.

You can also keep up to date with the match at on the official Match Centre and on the Caltex Socceroos Twitter account, @Socceroos, and Facebook.

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